Community is essential. National Caregivers Month 2018

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November is National Caregivers Month. This is when we take time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of caregivers.

Caregivers tell us constantly how isolating caregiving can be. As if your entire world had shrunk to just you and your loved one. It is therefore deeply ironic that care is fundamentally a social activity. We do our care within an interdependent web of relationships, such as family and friends.

That’s why it’s also hard to draw a circle around who caregivers are. It’s not a separate identity, where you immediately feel like a part of your group. Instead, you’re often a daughter, husband, grandchild, friend, or neighbor first.

The opportunity of National Caregivers Month

This year we’ve focused on helping caregivers break (or keep at bay) their isolation through building community. This creates the relationships and solidarity that replenish what the daily grind drains. Similarly, it fuels the ability of caregivers to demand their efforts be valued.

Strong communities thrive on shared identities, so we’re highlighting ways people can see themselves as caregivers. This is important because so few claim it as a main identity. Stories are how human beings make sense of the world. Therefore, we want to share experiences in which caregivers can recognize themselves.

We are making a bet that together can go beyond the platitudes and therefore move people powerfully enough to join in. Join in the conversation, join in the community, join in to build something amazing.

Consequently, we are aiming to highlight the breadth and diversity of caregivers. There are around 45 million family caregivers in every corner of our country, in every social and demographic group you can think of. While it can feel like what you do is invisible, caregivers are literally everywhere. We see you. We value you. #WeKnowYouCare.

Here’s where we’re starting

We’re kicking off with the experiences of caregivers from Maine. Mainers put a bold initiative on the ballot this critical midterm year. It would guarantee homecare for everyone who needs it, for as long as they need it, at a price they can afford.

It would be a gamechanger for caregivers and their loved ones. For that reason, we’re giving those folks an entire week. We’ll showcase on how their experiences have fueled their advocacy. (You can learn more about this breakthrough campaign here!)

We’ll be on Twitter and Facebook every day. We’ll be using #WeKnowYouCare and #NationalCaregiversMonth (that one’s pretty long!). So, if you follow those (or our accounts), the stories will show up directly in your timeline and newsfeed. And we’re doing a meme contest at the end of the month (I’m looking forward to that part the most)!

A great way to help caregivers find each other is to share the stories yourself. Tag the people who you know help someone out with groceries. Share something with the person who coordinates schedules and doctors visits. You can also email them. We know you have experiences of your own. Therefore, please share them when the moment seems right. Tag us when you do (see below) so we can share your story with our audience, too.

Highlights of the month

Here are some highlights.

November 1-6: Maine caregivers
November 2 – Live tweeting the caregiving-focused comedy Speechless on ABC (8:30PM ET)
November 5 – Tweet chat hosted by Eldercare Workforce Alliance (1PM ET) – #TogetherWeCare
November 6 – Voting Day!
November 14 – Facebook Live conversation with Ai-jen Poo (Co-Director of Caring Across Generations) hosted by Hilarity for Charity (3PM ET)
November 19 – Tweet chat with disability rights activist Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project, hosted by Caring Across Generations
November 26 – 30 – Caregiver-centered meme contest hosted by Caring Across Generations

Hashtags
#WeKnowYouCare
#NationalCaregiversMonth

https://twitter.com/CaringAcrossGen
https://www.facebook.com/caringacrossgenerations

Join in. Help us build the communities we all need.

November 1 – Leighann Gillis

November 2 – Claire Unsinn

November 3 – Lee Giles

November 4 – Skip Worchester

November 5 – Debbie Borque

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